NICK’S PICKS, FATHER’S DAY, JUNE 19TH AT COLONIAL DOWNS

FIRST IMPRESSIONS
     “Sheldon, meet Mr. Courtney and Mr. “Scooter” Hughes.  Mr. Courtney, “Scooter”, meet Sheldon Russell”….or something like that.  That might be how it sounded sometime on Saturday when the owner, trainer and jockey of the Colonial Turf Cup winner, Rahystrada, met for the first time. 
     After a flawless start that saw the 8-horse field run down the lane for the first time in an even row, there was little separation among the pack up the backstretch.   The rail opened up for Russell turning for home and he took full advantage of it.  It was the 4th win of the day for Russell, who considers the Turf Cup as the biggest win in his career.
    I happened to be on the backstretch at 6:00 AM Friday morning when Scooter arrived after making an overnight run through the winding West Virginia interstates from Lexington, Kentucky.  Rahystrada was being walked around Barn 7, an almost empty stakes barn and Hughes graciously allowed me to shoot pictures of big belly horse eating some clover.  Mr. Cou rtney comes from as embeded as familys gets in Kentucky.  His grandfather was one of Keeneland’s founders.
     As for the “Press Box Invitational”, Mark Moses picked the RahystradaSmart Bid exacta.  Moses of WKAV 1400 SportsRadio in Charlottesville and host of “The Morning Madhouse” will make a $60 win wager on the Virginia Derby.
QUOTE OF THE DAY
“A horse is dangerous at both ends and uncomfortable in the middle.” – Ian Fleming
RACING OF YORE VIRGINIA
What day better than Father’ s Day at Colonial Downs to recognize one of best sires of the Colonial era?  Virginia’s Fearnough arrived in America in March of 1764 and stood at Colonel John Baylor’s Newmarket Plantation in Caroline County, Virginia.  Baylor wanted to improve the smaller sprinters that had become prevalent in Virginia.  A King’s Plate winner in England was regular winner of four mile heats carrying high weights, Fearnough is a skipped generation back to Godolphin Arabian, one of three thoroughbred “foundation sires”.   He stood in Brunswick County, Virginia where he died in 1776.  He sired Symmes’ Wildar, Apollo, Dandridge’s  Fearnought, Harris’ Eclipse, King Herod, Matchless and Regulus.  Unfortunately, many more of the progeny were lost in the Revolutionary War.  Recently a historical marker was erected in Greenville for Fearnough.
MAKING RACING HAPPEN…
 …is my friend, Miguel Paz, the manager of the track kitchen on the backstretch at Colonial Downs.   Miguel has also managed the kitchens at Laurel, Pimlico and Bowie since 1991.  He likes to watch soccer and visiting Williamsburg on the off days of Colonial’s meet.  In Maryland, I usually get a chance to see him Preakness week mornings in the hospitality tents on Pimlico’s backstretch. 
KNICKERING NICK’S
EXOTIC PLAY OF THE DAY
RACE 9
$2 LATE DOUBLE
1,2,6 with 6,9,11